Tension that leads to change



Scripture: Mark 7:24-30
February 12, 2015

But she answered, “Lord even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Mark 7:28

The reason this is one of my favorite passages of scripture is because it speaks so clearly to our reality.  We don’t like being reminded that we create walls of separation between who is in and who is out, especially in the church.  And we all have been on the receiving end of feeling left out.  We all know what it feels like to be out of place, to be left out or to feel alone in a room full of people.  

There is tension built into this passage.  Jesus went to the regions of Tyre and Sidon, a geographical area that was outside of the acceptable boundaries of where a good Jewish person would go.  

And thus begins a story where nothing seems to be in place.  The tension begins early, simply with the disciples and Jesus crossing over the boundary between places that are considered clean and unclean.  

And then out in the open, during the day, a Canaanite woman comes running and shouting at Jesus.  Everyone knows this isn’t supposed to happen.  So the tension builds, the awkwardness is thick and encroaching on our ever shrinking space of comfort.  

And yet we can feel the desperation in her actions, in her voice, to save her daughter.  And yet he responds with these words, “it is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

We have defined boundaries and borders and often times we allow our personal prejudices, our preferences to guide our responses. And yet he calls us to be like him.  And in this passage what he does is extraordinary.   While with every other debate he entered into, he was able to walk away triumphant, in this one and only one, he is the one who changes his perspective.  

His faith is enhanced when he encountered this tenacious, fierce woman who challenged his world view .Who refused to believe that the one who walked on water, the one who never turned an ill person away, the one who multiplied loaves with such abandon and abundance that there were 12 baskets of leftovers that there wasn’t just a crumb left over for her, if only he would unclench his fist and allow it to come forth so he could heal her daughter.  

Our faith is enhanced when we encounter people who challenge our world view, who challenge how we live out our various callings.  It is usually in those instances that our understanding of God’s kingdom is expanded.

Prayer:  Help me to see God, when I am limiting your vision and voice in my life.  Open me up to your ways that cross boundaries and expand your circle of love.  Amen.

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